Dec 18 2015
Legislation includes Feinstein priorities, vital California projects
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, today announced her support for the omnibus spending bill that funds the federal government through fiscal year 2016.
“I voted for the omnibus and tax extenders because I think our nation is best served by fiscal certainty,” Feinstein said. “Stability and predictability in our tax code will help promote economic growth.”
Senator Feinstein also supports the omnibus because it includes several key pieces of legislation she has worked on. These include:
- The intelligence authorization bill;
- The cybersecurity information sharing bill;
- Tightening the visa waiver program; and
- Strengthening school accreditation standards for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.
“I am pleased these bills have been added to the omnibus,” Feinstein said. “This will be the seventh consecutive intelligence authorization bill after a period of five years without any bill. It’s critical to authorize funding and enact oversight provisions for the intelligence community.
“After working on legislation that addresses the cyber threat for more than five years, this cyber bill will be the first legislative effort to promote information sharing between companies and between companies and the government. The bill provides strong liability protections and strict privacy safeguards.
“I support including provisions to strengthen the Visa Waiver Program, as this is a national security priority for me. Importantly, the House version of the bill includes a requirement to obtain a traditional visa if you have been to Iraq or Syria recently. I’m disappointed that provisions I proposed on biometrics were not included and I intend to remedy that by continuing to push to require biometric submissions for first time visa waiver travelers before they enter the United States.
We also need additional information sharing for program countries, such as agreements to exchange foreign fighter databases and on the use of our federal air marshals.
“I’m thrilled to see there will be new accreditation requirements for schools participating in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program. This will ensure that only high-performing schools are eligible to participate.”
Energy and Water
“As ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Energy and Water Development, I’m proud that Senator Alexander and I worked together on a strong bipartisan bill. Our subcommittee has a history of bipartisanship, which is critical for funding the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation.
“This bill significantly increases funding to the Army Corps for flood protection, enhances research and development at the Department of Energy and boosts our ability to maintain our nuclear arsenal and nuclear nonproliferation efforts abroad. It also provides much-needed funds to address the historic drought facing California and other western states.
“However, I’m once again deeply disappointed that a pilot nuclear waste storage program was not included. We continue to face risks by having nuclear waste wait indefinitely at power plants throughout the country.”
Funding for California:
“California is benefitted by the omnibus spending bill, as seen by the numerous projects and priorities listed below.”
- $100 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the drought in California and other western states, through direct, immediate actions to extend limited water supplies, within existing authorization.
- $761 million for nine major public transit projects:
- $100 million for Los Angeles’ Purple Line Subway, for the first of a three phase expansion to connect Union Station to Westwood and the West Los Angeles VA campus.
- $100 million for Los Angeles’ Regional Connector, a two-mile underground project connecting the Gold and Blue subway lines.
- $150 million for San Francisco’s Third Street Light Rail/Central Subway, a project to connect Bayshore in the south to Chinatown in the north.
- $150 million for the BART extension to Silicon Valley, a 10-mile project to extend BART from Fremont to Berryessa Road in San Jose.
- $200 million for the second phase of Los Angeles’ Purple Line Subway and San Diego’s Mid-Coast Corridor Light Rail project that would connect downtown San Diego to University City.
- $20 million for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit’s San Rafael to Larkspur light rail project.
- $30 million for San Francisco’s Bus Rapid Transit along Van Ness Avenue.
- $11 million for the Fresno Blackstone/Kings Canyon Bus Rapid Transit project.
- $563 million for Veterans Affairs construction projects in California:
- West Los Angeles: $35 million for the seismic retrofit and renovation of Building 208 to support homeless housing.
- San Francisco: $158 million for seismic retrofits of three buildings, replacement of Building 12 and demolition of three buildings.
- Long Beach: $161 million to demolish two seismically deficient buildings and construct a new Mental Health Facility, parking structure and utility plant.
- Livermore: $139 million to purchase land and construct a new outpatient clinic in Fremont, as well as a new outpatient clinic in Stockton/French Camp.
- Alameda: $70 million to construct a new outpatient clinic and administrative offices.
- $8.2 million to develop a West Coast earthquake early warning system. This initiative will help save lives, reduce property damage and protect critical infrastructure.
- A one-year extension of a temporary judgeship in Los Angeles to ensure that Californians have timely access to the judicial system in California’s Central District, the tenth-busiest in the nation.
Additional priorities for California
- Repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for beef and pork. This language should prevent retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico on U.S. and California products that could have devastated the California agriculture industry.
- $210 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses states for the cost of housing undocumented immigrants in state and county jails and prisons. Last year, California received more than one-third of total SCAAP funding.
- $452 million for Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), a program that compensates counties for non-taxable public lands, such as national parks or other protected lands. California is the largest recipient of funds from this program; it received more than $45 million from the program last year.
- $40 million to begin to address youth homelessness through pilot programs. These funds will also provide support and guidance to service providers so they can better help homeless youth. Legislative provisions are also included that would make it easier for homeless youth to access the services for which they are eligible.
- Language directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to provide increased support to local field offices to enhance efforts to combat human and sex trafficking, particularly around large sporting events. Next year’s NFL Super Bowl will be held in the San Francisco Bay area.
- $109.5 million in new funding for the Food and Drug Administration to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was the most sweeping reform of the federal food safety system in decades.
- $160 million in new funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Key provisions Feinstein successfully opposed:
- A House-backed policy rider that would have prevented the Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing new regulations to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.
- House-backed policy riders that would have prevented resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States.
- A proposed mandate forcing states to allow twin 33-foot trailer trucks on their roads without a comprehensive safety study.
- House-backed policy riders that would have crippled California’s High Speed Rail project.
- House-backed policy riders that would have further weakened enforcement of federal gun laws, particularly along the Mexican border.
- House-backed policy riders that would have significantly impeded federal regulation of carbon emissions from power plants.